Wednesday, 8 January 2014

New Year, New Challenges

Last week I decided to sign up for the Bead Journal Project as a way of detailing my moods/feelings throughout the year.  Due to certain events/situations in my personal life over the last few years, the panic attacks that I have suffered with for years have got much worse to the point where I am often unable to leave the house for weeks at a time.  The bad situations are all behind us now but the panic attacks remain and I need to find a way to deal with them again.  This is my first step.

The idea behind the BJP is that you choose a shape or theme and then stick with it, making one piece each month.  I am using a simple goddess shape and bead embroidery for mine which I hope to eventually turn into some sort of calendar to hang on my studio wall.  It will hopefully be a reminder of how far I have come from this first piece.

I always find January such a depressing month.  It is dark and dreary and all the twinkly lights from Christmas have been put away.  I thought that this would mean my January goddess would also be dark and dreary but in the end she turned out to have a bit of sparkle too.

To start, I picked out a pale pink gemstone bead for her face and a mottled grey gemstone bead  for her belly.  I found a pretty little hematite heart that was gifted me with a bag full of beads from a friend a little while ago and decided to use that as it was small and dark just like my mood.  I edged the heart in dark red seed beads and added a line of baby spikes down one side to represent my prickliness.  Originally she was to be faceless but I decided that was maybe a little creepy and decided to give her a mask instead as I often feel that I am hiding behind one myself.  The mask is simply a piece of blank ultrasuede edged with seed beads and stitched over her face.  The swirling seed beads are a representation of my changing moods and the crystals, the points of brightness in my days.

Overall, although the description makes her sound depressing, I rather like her.  She has an optimism about her that I didn't expect and I am looking forward to seeing where the remaining 11 take me.


  1. Oh Donna, she's beautiful. I love the fact that although inspired by darkness she is optimistic. Can't wait to see your next one xxx

  2. I can't say enough about her, or you, Donna. I didn't see your blog post at the beginning, or I would have started here. It makes me just SO Happy that you came from the thought of depressing, and maybe dreading starting the BJP because of the feelings, to stitching something so mysterious and lovely, which brought forth sparkles and hope and optimism. I am so glad you found it worthwhile to take on, and I am in love with the way you let yourself stitch whatever felt right. I think I am still worrying a little too much about what looks good here and there rather than just letting my mood guide me. Congratulations on a gorgeous piece, and i can't wait to see where the year leads for both of us. xxxxx

  3. Well, Nancy has said it better than I ever could... Please just ditto everything she wrote above. Also have to add, about the swirls... you said they represent your changing moods, which is a very clear "story," given the overall "autobiography" you've written with your beads. Swirls are often used when people are asked to draw "creative energy." Even though that wasn't your intent here, I think they might also represent your creative energy, with surrounds you even in this dark mood, a creative force circling and seeping out from behind your mask. This is important, healing work you are doing, Donna. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Donna...she is just lovely and I love how you started out with your dark moods...but found the love and beauty at the end. I can't wait to see your next piece!!

  5. Thank you all for your lovely comments. It means a great deal to me that artists I respect, like yourselves, can see in this piece things that I hadn't considered as well the things that I already knew were there. I am so glad I decided to take part this year!